The VP of Sales. A notoriously tough spot to fill, but also an essential hire for the growth of your SaaS company. In many cases, this person will be the face of the company and undoubtedly the face of the sales department, so hiring the right person, the first time, is pretty crucial to your business and your go-to-market (GTM) strategy.
It’s essential that part of your GTM strategy includes your growth plan. Hiring a VP of sales will come into that plan and it’s likely you will require different characteristics for your VP of sales at each stage of growth. Being prepared before you get to these stages can hugely contribute to your chances of a successful launch.
There are typically four core categories that your new VP of Sales may fall into; and prospects within each of the different groups will have strengths that pertain to different stages of your Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).
GROUP 1: THOSE WHO PREACH
VPs of Sales that fall into this category typically do so at the earliest stage of your SaaS company’s ARR; and they can likely sell hay to a farmer. Key attributes of this person may include:
- Impeccable product knowledge from the off
- The ability to open doors to new prospective buyers/subscribers
- Creative thinker
- Likely not built or scaled a sales team before
TOP TIP: A preacher can be a waste of a hire, unless it’s super early in your ARR or your founding team has little to no experience in customer management.
GROUP 2: THOSE WHO REPEAT
Every SaaS company needs a VP of Sales who can eat, sleep, repeat what you need them to do; especially at the stage where you have some inbound leads and some customers, but not a huge amount. Key attributes of this person may include:
- The ambition to figure out how to scale
- Exceptional at closing deals
- Good hiring and recruitment knowledge
- The ability to build basic processes that are repeatable and scalable
TOP TIP: This person is very hard to come by. Always be on the lookout for someone who has actually seen SaaS companies through this secondary stage of growth; and when you find them, act fast.
GROUP 3: THOSE WHO GROW BIG
This VP of sales usually joins at the next phase of your growth, where your plan is to scale and increase lead generation and revenue at a slightly faster pace than before. Key attributes of this person may include:
- The ability to repeat processes
- The sales enablement knowledge to best equip your GTM team
- Skilled in targeting and hiring the right people to boost growth
- Clear leadership skills and capable of building out a field sales team
- Works well with marketing teams
TOP TIP: Hiring this person successfully relies heavily on market knowledge. Knowing who has recently taken a company through this phase of growth and developing a GTM team can be extremely helpful when it comes to selecting potential candidates.
GROUP 4: THOSE WHO ANALYSE
This person is all about dashboards and figures and establishing what needs to be done in order to improve results, save on costs and align numbers. These VPs are typically found in huge SaaS companies that have already scaled to a phenomenal level. Key attributes of this person may include:
- Really understands how to sell up
- The ability to consider tough decisions
- Good with budgets, percentages and dashboards
- Enjoys engaging with key prospects
TOP TIP: Don’t hire this VP of Sales until your SaaS business is at hyper growth scale. They’re good with the numbers once you get to this point, but they’ve little knowledge or ability in scaling your SaaS company from the starting line to the big bucks.
Our biggest tip: Hire your VP of Sales in line with your ARR and GTM team
These four categories will see your SaaS company from the very early stages right the way through to when your business becomes a power house. The ability to project when you’ll need your VP of sales and ascertaining which type of VP to hire will rely on the strength of your GTM strategy. When you project your ARR, be sure to pay attention to when you’ll need to bring in your next VP of sales.
Regardless of which stage of growth you’re at, the best VPs of Sales are great with interpersonal communications, public speaking, and networking; and they always give a positive impression of the company for which they work.
GET IN TOUCH
Here at Strive, we source top tier sales talent for hyper-growth tech companies. To learn more about how we can help your business scale, contact our team on 0203 983 0770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.